This Good Friday, Josiah and I watched Star Wars Episode I, which he hadn't seen yet. (We of course introduced him to the Star Wars movies in the correct order; we worked through the original trilogy first a few months ago.) Then we watched Episode II on Saturday. I know these prequel movies are fairly weak compared to the original trilogy, with insufferably cheesy dialogue at times, but they've grown on me somewhat over the years. I welcome them as more opportunities to revisit the galaxy far, far away.
Also this weekend Ellen and I watched the movie version of Twilight, as well as all of the bonus features. I thought the movie did a good job of capturing the style and mood of the books, with appropriate romantic tension, suspense and danger. It's been a few years since I'd read the first Twilight book, so I went back and started rereading it to refresh myself on the details.
Oh, and there was Easter Sunday too.
I found myself caught between these various narrative worlds this past weekend. It struck me that watching Star Wars makes me want to be a Jedi. (I already have a blue Force FX lightsaber.) Watching Twilight makes me want to be a vampire. That would be cool. But reexperiencing the Easter story doesn't necessarily make me think, "Oooh, I want to be a disciple. That would so rock."
I know I have a propensity to want to inhabit whatever world I'm vicariously experiencing at the moment. When I read Chaim Potok's classic My Name Is Asher Lev a few years back, I totally wanted to be Jewish. When I saw Rent last week, I really wanted to live in that New York arts community, where everybody bursts into song as a narrative soundtrack to life events. So it probably makes sense that I wanted to be a Jedi vampire this weekend. Except that it's Easter, and I should probably have been reflecting more on what it means to follow the resurrected Jesus.
I think that in some ways, those of us who are overly familiar with the Christian story need to reenter it through other portals. When I read the Gospels, it's not surprising anymore - it's a bit been there, done that. We know how the story goes. But when I do a mental pop culture mashup between Christianity and something like Twilight, then things get interesting again. Because when I watch Twilight, I'm hit by the sense of longing for the beloved, the willingness to sacrifice everything for the sake of another, the desire for eternal life, issues of ultimate purpose. The tagline for the movie is a great theological question: "When you can live forever, what do you live for?"
So I don't feel too bad about watching vampire movies or Star Wars while celebrating the resurrection of Christ. Thinking about them together is actually more interesting than contemplating any of them on their own.